As the CEO of Toucan Toco, I just came back from the TDWI event which took place from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd in San Diego, and let me tell you: it was one of the most valuable data-related events I’ve had the chance to attend!
Following my attendance to the TDWI event in Chicago at the end of April, I decided to book my trip for the next one taking place in San Diego. And for the second time, I came across impressive professionals who are not only specialists in their field, but who were also inspiring when it came to transmitting knowledge, being open to new ideas, and constantly challenging the status quo.
I truly believe that every BI & Analytics Manager out there should attend a TDWI event.
Here are the three main reasons:
1. The esteemed quality of the courses instructed during the event
2. The instructors: choosing a course form the course list become hard considering the interesting subjects and impressive background of each instructor.
3. The attendees you can meet during the event are remarkable and the organization level of the TDWI Staff was a big contributor to the event’s success
Having an amazing list of leading business analytics and data experts in the same place is the best way to learn about technicals functionalities or new features available on the market.
This is the goal of all TDWI events to me: takeaway knowledge and new business connections: and it works!
OUTSIDE THE CONFERENCE ROOMS
First off, I wanted to highlight the quality of the event framework and organization. All three aspects stated above made TDWI such a distinguished event. Of course, the way the staff organizes TDWI is made for success: every slot in your calendar during the time you’re at the event is made for learnings. From breakfast – the easiest time to make new connections and learn about other people’s expertise around coffee- to social events at night, which include games and fun challenges that bring the community together. Networking sessions between courses and lunchtime are also great times to socialize and meet extremely well-skilled data professionals. Courses are also organized very seriously with a handbook per person so we can follow the presentation and keep the overview of the presentation home.
EXCEPTIONAL CONTENT BROUGHT BY BRILLIANT INSTRUCTORS
Because Style is the substance of the subject called unceasingly to the surface as Victor Hugo liked to say, the organization of the event works because the content of the courses is first-class knowledge.
We couldn’t discuss core content without talking about the person who wrote it so the first session of my schedule started with a stunning keynote by John Myers’ on Data Virtualization: how to solve complex data integration. John Myers has over twenty years of experience in analytics in professional services consulting and helps organizations solve their business analytics problems, whether they relate to operational platforms or apply to analytical applications. His tremendous experience was really helpful for me in understanding how data virtualization works and how we could position it in our data integration architecture and processes at Toucan Toco.
After a good networking session on Monday the 19th, I had the chance to attend the Principles of Modern Data Analytics instructed by Donald Farmer. Thanks to his thirty years of experience advising investors and software vendors on data and analytics strategy, I related to what I aim at developing with our team at Toucan Toco. “Analytics is no longer owned by IT”. Starting his session with that statement couldn’t resonate more for me. One of the principles that I found helpful and practical is the argument that useful questions should provoke questions rather than just simple answers. I’m definitely in line with Donald Farmer because the ability to explore is part of the user experience of the visualization.
Now I need to mention Claudia Imhoff. Claudia is one of those BI professionals who gets where the industry is going and what it needs. We’ve met a couple of times and these were enough to know that we were aligned. Claudia is of course well known and recognized by everyone as an analytics and business intelligence expert. She co-authored five different books on the subject and is the founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust (#BBBT). She does an amazing job there with other 250 independent analysts – must know for anybody with an interest in analytics! Both her courses on the role of the Data Interpreter and Creating an Analytically Driven Entreprise were aligned with today’s data challenges within organizations.
At Toucan Toco, we keep explaining the vision and the values of a Data Storytelling strategy and so I couldn’t agree more with Claudia’s vision in explaining the role of the Data Interpreter: A data interpreter is a storyteller for the executive suite of the company. He or she is able to translate technical analytical results into meaningful business jargon with the compelling story behind the algorithms and graphs. If you’re related to the field of business intelligence and analytics, you definitely need to reach out to her and read some of her articles like the Important new trends in analytics!
Thanks to TDWI, I also had the chance to meet and listen to David Talby for his great course on AI, An Enterprise Platform for Getting AI from Concept to Production. David Talby is Chief Technology Officer at Pacific after Microsoft and Amazon where he built and ran distributed teams that helped scale Amazon’s financial system.
I learned how to build a state-of-the-art AI platform using open source software for example and how real-world systems that apply machine learning, deep learning, NLP, data mining, and other data science techniques are built. Great insights to nurture my thoughts on how we could enable Toucan Toco to take AI from concept to production. High-level course with a wonderful instructor! You can find some of his statements about AI and Finance in this interview in the Prophix Blog.
Another proof of the quality of the content and the expertise of TDWI’s success is the presentation by Evan Levy! Once again, couldn’t relate more with his saying “ We’ve delivered business intelligence solutions to enable users to become knowledge workers. And it’s still not enough because the sources of data and the needs of users continue to grow”! Evan Levy is a management consultant in enterprise data strategy, data management, and analytics. His expertise and experience made his “Data Strategy: Developing the Road Map” course a complete success.
Now that this week is coming to an end, I will definitely plan my next trip to TDWI Orlando from November 10th to 15th. I believe that all the learnings from TDWI are really beneficial for all the data analytics, business intelligence managers and any other employee working in the business intelligence, data integration, virtualization, data visualization or data storytelling.
Thank you as well to the staff for their help and sympathy all along the week and see you next time …
Charles Miglietti, CEO of Toucan Toco